The holidays are a strong time for the Bombay Club, whose mix of imaginative food and deftness at making cocktails lend to the thoroughly grown-up festivities. The chef takes full advantage of the season with a Reveillon menu, and opens on Christmas Eve and Day with highly agreeable, not-entirely-traditional special menus. New Year's Eve has always been a major bash at the Bombay, and a tradition for a lot of people.
Since its earliest days, and even in these casual times, the Bombay Club has maintained a sophistication. People tend to dress up here, even though there's no strident dress code (except on New Year's Eve). This is true even if you're just stopping in for a cocktail--a specialty of the house since long before the current mixology craze began. But the food is good enough to bring you in, too.
Marc Turk first opened the Bombay Club on Dumaine Street between Burgundy and Rampart in the early 1980s. In those days, it was entirely a lounge, with a vaguely British style, a jacket-and-tie dress code, and live music. When it moved to its present location, it added a kitchen and food, but continued to emphasize the bar and the music. Present owner Richard Fiske has kept that tradition going.
The main room is dominated by a large rectangular bar in the center of the main room. A tiny courtyard outside a panel of windows prevents the darkness from taking over completely. A number of private, curtained booths line one wall, perfect for a romantic evening. A smaller dining room off to one side is the most traditional restaurant environment here. There is live music every night, provided by musicians whose name you will likely have heard of if you're into the local jazz scene.
Make reservations for the booths for dinner. Dress better than usual; the place seems to lend itself to that.